all posts tagged 'grief'

All my beautiful AI children

🔗 a linked post to » — originally shared here on

Because of my experience with Remini — and despite my natural and deep-seated antipathy toward tech solutionism of all sorts — it’s impossible for me to dismiss or decry grief tech out of hand. At present, at least half a dozen high-profile start-ups claim they can train interactive chatbots or video avatars to mimic the personalities of the dead; tech-savvy mourners have also turned several general AI apps, such as Remini and Paradot, to grief tech applications. 

These services — marketed under names like Project December, You Only Virtual, HereAfter AI and Seance AI — raise pressing, significant questions around issues like privacy, predatory marketing and consent. What happens if grandma doesn’t want to “live” forever? Or her platform ups the cost of a premium subscription? Other commentators and ethicists — including, just last week, the prominent sociologist Sherry Turkle — have voiced concerns that grief tech blurs the boundary between the living and the dead and locks the bereaved in a sort of limbo. Such critics assume that the bereaved cannot spot the illusion of AI chatbots for themselves, and, moreover, that the bereaved should not indulge themselves in any comforting fantasies about death.

But people take comfort in all sorts of stories; I no longer feel wise enough to judge them for that.

First off, huge respect to Caitlin Dewey for sharing this story. It takes guts to be vulnerable and share something this intimate.

Second, consider me privileged, because I would have never considered miscarriage grief as a use case for artificial intelligence.

People grieve in all sorts of ways. It’s not up to me (or you, or anybody) to judge, but it is up to us to show up for each other and be helpful.

I know how important journaling is to my mental health. There’s something cathartic about forcing yourself to stare directly at your thoughts, putting words to the vague feelings that gnaw at you incessantly.

I can only imagine how cathartic it may feel to someone to see a rendering of what could have been. To give yourself some closure on the possibilities you dreamed for yourself and your future family.

Again, I’m not here to judge or endorse. I find myself once again just impressed at how people are able to figure out how to take technology and use it to deal with their problems.

Continue to the full article

What not to say to someone who is grieving

🔗 a linked post to » — originally shared here on

Human nature is to put boundaries around the loss, so we know it’s something that happens to other people. We say that they’re in a better place or to just remember the good times, because if we spoke the truth – that tragedy comes for us all, that sometimes life is random and cruel and painful and beyond comprehension – I mean, how would we even function?

Death has been on my mind a lot lately. Both of my kids continually ask about it, and a coworker of mine is grieving a very recent death in their family.

This is the conclusion I inevitably come to: death does come for us all, randomly and painfully and mercilessly.

The only way I’ve found to cope with the concept of death is to be grateful to be born in the first place. What a stroke of luck we have to even be alive.

In the words of Jeff Mangum: “How strange it is to be anything at all.”

Continue to the full article